In pictures: Parade in Minsk marks Independence Day

A military parade marking Belarus' Independence Day and the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the country in World War II was staged in front of the Hero City Minsk obelisk at the center of the Belarusian capital on July 3 with dozens of thousands in attendance.

Warplanes roared overhead as troops, tanks and vehicles filed past Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his five-year-old son Kolya, who was dressed in a specially tailored military uniform and performing a military hand salute.

The parade, broadcast live by all national television channels, was commanded by Deputy Defense Minister Yury Merantsow and reviewed by Defense Minister Leanid Maltsaw.

Two Mi-8 helicopters flew over the area, with one of them displaying a huge state flag and the other displaying a banner highlighting the liberation anniversary.

Nine open UAZ-469 4x4 vehicles carrying World War II veterans ran past the Belarusian leadership and other VIPs.

The parade involved more than 40 military aircraft and about 160 military vehicles, including Soviet tanks and self-propelled anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns of the World War II times, modern T-72B battle tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, BelGrad and Smerch multiple rocket launchers, Osa surface-to-air missile systems, Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers and Shturm-S anti-tank guns.

The parade traditionally started with a march of a group of young drummers from the Minsk Suvorov Military School, and culminated in a drill show by an elite company of honor guards and a performance by a military brass band.

Marching past the reviewing stands were Military Academy cadets and officers, personnel of the 120th Independent Mechanized Brigade, the 86th Signal Brigade, the defense ministry's transport support department, the emergency management ministry, the State Border Troops Committee, the Interior Troops, and the Special Operations Forces.

The event also featured an air show by two aerobatic demonstration teams, Kryly Belarusi and Belaya Rus.